Organic gardening with kids is fun and easy. Kids love to imitate the “real work” that the adults around them do and gardening is no exception. All you need to do is be a good model for how the “work” is done while making room for them to help. They will more than likely jump in front of you saying, “I want to do it” just like my 2.5-year-old daughter does.
My daughter and I are fortunate enough to have an excellent model to learn from as far as organic gardening goes. My mother has an amazing organic permaculture garden complete with over 30 varieties of fruit trees and bushes. The weather in Northern California has been warm for several weeks now so we decided to plant spring flowers together last weekend.
Planting Spring Flowers Supplies:
1. Gardening tools
- wheelbarrow (optional)
- garden rake
- hand trowel(s)
- digging fork or other cultivator
Kids Gardening Tools
2. Organic Gardening Soil Amendments
[Miracle grow is not organic so we don’t use it. We use the following simple amendments you can pick up at your favorite local nursery.]
- fresh organic compost [can be purchased if you don’t make your own compost.]
- bone meal
- blood meal
- sulfur pellets/granules [for soil that is too alkaline — high pH. The reason you need to address the pH of your soil is that plants can not take up nutrients they need unless it is in the proper range.]
3. Spring flowers of choice
- Start your own seeds in advance or pick up flower starts from your favorite local nursery.
Planting Spring Flowers Directions:
1. Gather your supplies and place near garden bed(s) you will be planting.
2. Prepare the soil.
Pull out weeds and use digging fork or cultivators to turn top 6-18″ of earth. Depth will depend on the type and size of flowers you will be planting.
My mom used the digging fork, I used the hand cultivator, and my daughter “helped” with a leaf rake. We modeled the work and she picked up a leaf rake to do what mommy was doing. Of course this is not the correct or an effective tool. It was the imitative action that was important at this point. Using a cultivator would have been tough for her at first. I didn’t tell her what to do or teach her. She just watched and joined in. Now I know she is ready for a set of gardening tools to go with the wheelbarrow she has mastered using.
3. Add Soil Amendments.
My mom and I added a generous sprinkling of bone and blood meal. My daughter followed us and sprinkled sulfur pellets. She cried, “I wanna do it!” when we were finished and tried to help her. We gladly stepped back and let her do it herself.
4. Add Compost and mix in.
Use your garden rake and or cultivator(s) to mix in.
Look at my sweet little girl helping once again with the leaf rake — too cute.
5. Break up large dirt clods by hand if needed.
This is fun to do with kids even if you don’t really need to — they love it!
6. Place plant in ground.
Dig a hole, loosen root, place plant in hole, cover root with dirt and tuck in–press plant down into the earth gently. Repeat as needed and desired.
7. Allow child to copy your actions.
This was the first time that my daughter helped as much for as long as she did. Last season she would wander off doing her own thing coming back and forth to join in whenever she felt like it. This is as it should be.
Allow your child to join in the work when they are ready — no pushing or cajoling or they might not ever want to join you. Eventually you will have a solid willing worker that imitates your actions no questions asked. Of course you will have to provide guidance, but it is minimal.
I felt like a proud mama when she grabbed a trowel and began digging a hole after she watched us doing it.
I was blown away by how delicately she handled each flower sweeping the dirt gently up around each one. Simply adorable.
8. Sit back to admire your work
My daughter was visibly pleased with her efforts. She put a total five flowers in the ground “all by herself” — so cute.
Kids always love to help with watering!
10. Clean up
Place weeds in compost or green bin, clean tools so they won’t rust, and put away.
My daughter is finally reaching the age where she helps from start to finish. The best part? She’s learning to share the work and enjoy the fruits of her labors with the rest of us. Because she wants to — not because she has to. Melts a mama’s heart.
You May Also Like
- Plant Sunflowers
- Starting Cucumbers and Melons
- Planting Tomatoes
- Search for Signs of Spring
- 15 Ways to Celebrate the Spring Solstice
- Spring Nature Table
- Spring Books for Kids
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